Like most of the media world, we here at MTV News obsess and argue relentlessly over our year-end top 10s. This year, we thought we'd share them! Our staff top 10s, along with several less conventional lists, will be rolling out all this week. Find out our picks for couples, guilty-pleasure songs, albums, hot messes, arrests and much more. Enjoy, and share your own top 10s in You Tell Us!
1. "Desktop Tower Defense" (PC)
Yes, my game of the year is a game many of you probably haven't heard of. It's free, it's for the computer, and you play it in your Internet browser. Sound lame? It is not. No game released in 2007 took a tighter grip of my free time (and my not-so-free time) than this one. It's a simple strategy game designed for short-play sessions. Little "creeps" try to crawl across your computer screen, from left-to-right and from top-to-bottom. If 20 make their journey, your game is over. To stop them, you place different types of towers on the playing field. The towers might block, freeze, slow or simply machine-gun the creeps, and as you mow down your foes, you earn cash to level the towers up. Your strategy must improve as the waves of enemies relentlessly increase. How can this game be my top one? I'm hooked on it. And everyone I've recommended it to has gotten hooked, something I can't say about any of the other great games on this list. Risk it yourself by trying the game here.
2. "Super Mario Galaxy" (Wii)
Super Mario returns in a sweeping outer-space adventure that puts gameplay variety first and shoves the dreary, predictable routines of so many other modern games back in the development-priority caboose. Controls are tight, graphics sparkle, and surprises lurk everywhere. Though it hails from one of the older series in gaming, so much feels new, making the game tough to top.
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3. "Halo 3" (Xbox 360)
Everything that previous "Halo" games did well is refined in "Halo 3." The multiplayer options are again ramped up. And the Saved Films feature takes a PC idea and gives it console-style accessibility. Perhaps best of all, the enemies in this game are almost as smart as the player, making "Halo 3" battles feel fresh even the 14th time you play them.
4. "Portal" (Xbox 360/ PS3/ PC)
Short and polished, this game refutes such seldom-considered notions as first-person shooters not being fun if they have no one in them to shoot, and puzzle games not needing a good story. The gameplay is built on one fresh gimmick: With a special gun, you can shoot an entry portal and an exit portal on most of the game's flat surfaces and walk through them. Infinite loops, funny writing and a killer ending theme song make this game, which is packaged for consoles as part of the EA-published "The Orange Box," a 2007 best.
5. "Super Stardust HD" (PS3)
A 21st-century "Asteroids," this downloadable shoot-'em-up for the PlayStation 3 proves that Mario isn't the only one who benefits from spherical worlds. Using a spaceship that can fly anywhere on the surface of spherical planets, the player shoots aliens and a blizzard of meteors, blowing up more stuff and cluttering their screen with more pyrotechnics than possibly any other game released this year. This is cutting-edge horsepower used for old-school arcade purposes.
6. "Crackdown" (Xbox 360)
Set in one of the most architecturally distinctive cities ever rendered in a 3-D game, "Crackdown" was expected to play like "Grand Theft Auto" starring a super-cop. It did, minus many side-missions and plus a leveling-up system that lets the cop toss cars and jump from street level to rooftops in a single bound. The game deserves special commendation for its fantastic item-drops: a swarm of small spheres that fly at the player from any downed foe, each one color-coded to represent how you took the enemy down (a few yellow ones if some damage was delivered by fists; some purple if it came from a bump with a car, etc.).
7. "Metroid Prime 3: Corruption" (Wii)
Nintendo's third and apparently final installment of the "Metroid Prime" first-person adventure series is made a little more accessible (and a little less "Metroid"-ish) with early, linear levels. But a genuine "Metroid" adventure unfolds, set amid some industry-leading art design and capping with a radical, late-game gameplay twist that shows just how much more could be done with heroine Samus Aran.
8. "BioShock" (Xbox 360, PC)
It is both the thinking person's first-person shooter (note all the Ayn Rand references and the encouragement for strategic combat) and the game that introduces Big Daddies near the top of the list of great gaming enemies of all time. It takes place in an undersea city that was supposed to be a Utopia but is now just a hauntingly wrecked battlefield through which to play.
9. "Rock Band" (Xbox 360/ PS3/ PS3)
MTV-owned Harmonix made this competitor to the undeniably fantastic "Guitar Hero" series. Harmonix proposes a four-person tweak to the "GH" convention: singer, lead guitarist, bass player and drummer. It's ambitious, it's not perfect (where's the online World Tour?), but for those of us who will never jam onstage with real instruments, it feels like a glorious substitute.
10. "Geometry Wars: Galaxies" (Wii)
A surprise entry released during the holiday crush, this Wii game takes the "Geometry Wars" series that last made waves on the Xbox 360 and builds it into a 50-plus-level full-fledged arcade shooter. Like "Super Stardust HD," this game is all about using a spaceship to blast absurd amounts of bad guys into oblivion. But unlike that game or even earlier "Geometry Wars" games, this one lets you level up a partner spaceship the longer you play. So you've got all the compulsive replayability of a pure-play arcade game, mixed with all of the rewarding and empowering leveling up of a "Ratchet & Clank" or "World of Warcraft." It's a potent formula.